Don’t separate yoga from source

“Don’t separate yoga from source”
by Rajiv Malhotra

Copyright © 2001 North Jersey Media Group Inc.

Thursday, May 17, 2001

At a time when the West is so fussy about protecting its intellectual property rights around the world, might it be a good idea to have clean hands by making sure that it is not plagiarizing the discoveries and know-how of others? Given that the historical domination of scholarship on Hinduism was in the control of colonialists and Christian missionaries (often the same persons), there have been considerable distortions. This phenomenon has been popularly known as Orientalism.

It troubles me that some Christians stereotype Hinduism as “world negating,” “caste abusive,” “‘women abusive,” “poverty causing,” and “fatalistic” and yet they appropriate from it without acknowledgment (“A bit of a stretch at Felician: Nun joins students in Christian yoga class,” Page L-8, May 8). This often happens in a four-stage process.

The first is discipleship with loyalty. The second is distancing from the source — respect for the Hindu source, but only if someone asks. The third is a repackaging of the original material as Judeo-Christianity. The fourth is a denigration and marginalization of the source by concentrating on the negative stereotypes of Hinduism.

Yoga seems to have entered this third stage.

It is bothersome that some media are unable to apply quality standards to ensure that yoga’s proper basis in Hinduism is appreciated by the public.

Rajiv Malhotra, Princeton, May 10
The writer is associated with The Infinity Foundation in Princeton.

originally published at

Copyright © 2001 North Jersey Media Group Inc.